Thursday, May 30, 2013

Object Permanence Testing in a Cat

Smudge scored at Stage 3 - finding a partially hidden object.

I often do cognitive testing on him - he gets excited as soon as he sees me setting up the camera tripod, because he knows he's getting treats and attention. This time, I used the scale found in the appendix of this study to figure out what stage of object permanence Smudge is at.

I used one of Smudge's favorite toys, a freshness seal from a drink container, as the target. First I taught him to associate finding the target with getting a treat. Then I started hiding the target, in full view of him, to see if he could find it.

I thought he'd score higher, actually, because cats often chase prey that likes to hide. But I suspect it's different when they can still hear the target scuttling around out of sight.


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